India vs England, 3rd Test: Jasprit Bumrah leaves India one wicket from victory at Trent Bridge
Jasprit Bumrah's bumper return to India's Test XI rattled England at Trent Bridge. @Getty

A rejuvenated India are one wicket away from an epic win at Trent Bridge, courtesy a sensational five-wicket haul from Jasprit Bumrah in his comeback game. Adil Rashid’s plucky 30 has kept India waiting for victory, but they will be the team who will enjoy their sleep tonight.

It took India 57.2 overs to separate Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes, but once they did, the next three wickets fell in 19 balls to change the tone of an absorbing fourth day day that highlighted the allure of Test cricket. Dropped on 1 by the debutant wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant, Buttler produced his maiden century, and longest innings in Tests, while dominating a record partnership with Stokes who produced an innings of admirable restraint. The pair took England from 62/4 to 231/5, batting out the entire afternoon session and raising hopes of taking stumps unscathed, but a terrific three-wicket burst from Bumrah with the second new ball kicked the door down.

Bumrah’s removal of Stokes, Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes in three overs of raw pace and wild movement rearranged the entire tone of the session, and when Hardik Pandya ended Stokes’ 187-ball effort the end appeared near. A ninth-wicket stand of 50 between Adil Rashid and Stuart Broad kept India waiting, but once Bumrah got his fifth the end appeared near. Rashid has survived to force the match into the last day.

Jaspri tBumrah Trent Bridge
On comeback, Jasprit Bumrah took his second five-wicket haul in five Tests. @Getty

India took four wickets in the morning session but could not break through during the afternoon as their attack laboured on a surface that made them look unthreatening, and Buttler and Stokes blunted everything that came their way, albeit with some luck. The second new ball immediately proved more of a threat, and finally, after 57.2 overs, India found a way through when Buttler padded up to a sharp inswinger from Bumrah. It ended a superb display of concentration and application.

Out walked Bairstow, with a fractured finger, and Bumrah deceived him with a ripper first ball. Woakes clipped the hat-trick ball for four but did not last long, surprised by Bumrah’s short ball to be caught fending to Pant. Pandya, in the fifth over of a miserly spell, ended Stokes’ rearguard to have him caught by KL Rahul at second slip, who held his sixth catch of the Test.

England will be chastened by their dramatic collapse. With Ishant Sharma bowling himself into good rhythm, claiming the England openers in two overs when play began, and Joe Root and Ollie Pope undone by Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and some terrific slip catching, it was tough going for the batsmen in the morning, but Buttler and Stokes performed admirably to deny India a wicket for four hours.

Stokes was subdued, displaying the tenacity of a man forced to bat out sessions. His first 37 balls yielded three runs as R Ashwin, who appeared stiff during his three overs, was defended with exaggerated defence. Each time a delivery rolled to the legside, Stokes stuck out a hand to reject Buttler’s movements toward taking a single.

Pandya sent down four tidy overs for seven runs, bowling nine dots to Stokes and eight to Buttler. When Ashwin returned, three fours came off three overs as Stokes and Buttler opened their arms. Now well embedded, Stokes then took the liberty of slashing Bumrah past point. Then Buttler brought up his third fifty in eight innings since making a comeback to the Test team in June with a lovely drive for four off Bumrah.

Jos Buttler 100
Jos Buttler cracked Mohammed Shami for three fours in one over to get to his first Test century. @Getty

Twenty of Buttler’s run came through the slip cordon, with edges off Bumrah and Ishant flying safely past catchers. This was because he rarely got fully forward, and often played away from his body to deliveries pitching and leaving him. It was one such delivery that took the edge when he was new to the crease, but Pant was fractionally late to react because he had initially moved the other way. Bumrah was the unlucky bowler on that occasion, and as the day progressed he saw Buttler streakily edge him wide of the slips three more times. Two of his 21 boundaries were also edges off Ishant and Shami.

That does not mean that Buttler’s 106 was streaky. His swiftness of footwork against Ashwin and conviction of shot selection, especially when driving, was excellent. A perfectly placed drive into the covers for four off Ashwin gave Buttler his highest Test score, then a nice clip for four off Shami took him into the nineties for the first time. If he had any nerves, they were erased by a terrible over from Shami in which Buttler was given three consecutive balls to move from 91 to his hundred.

Searching for reverse, Shami sent another ball further down the pads and Buttler glanced it for another boundary to get to 95. Shami then went short, and was lapped around the corner for four. The next ball was way down the pads and duly flicked to take Buttler to 103 – his first century in first-class cricket in four years, and just fifth overall.

The moment had hardly been soaked in when India took the new ball, and what Bumrah produced next was riveting.